Are there special laws to protect oak trees?

The City of Los Angeles has an Oak Tree Ordinance that protects all oaks (except scrub oak), California bay laurel, black walnut and the Western sycamore. It is illegal to remove or fatally harm any of these species measuring at least 4" diameter that are 54" above ground level. Parcels of less than one acre must comply with the ordinance. L.A. County officials are also considering tougher native tree regulations.

In the city of Los Angeles, damaging a native tree by poisoning, burning, imperiling the root system or changing its natural grade is forbidden. Ordinance exemptions include removal of trees in danger of falling, dying trees, homeowner planted trees and trees that stymie the property's "reasonable development." Permits require residents to hire an arborist for advice and to replace the lost tree with two native trees located on the lot.

To read the ordinance, please visit this page or call the City of Los Angeles Urban Forestry Division at (213) 473-3231 or more information.

For more information on oaks in unincorporated L.A. County, call the Department of Regional Planning’s Land Development Coordinating Center at (213) 974-6411.

To learn more about protecting and promoting oak trees in California please visit